If we don't have anything to be grateful for, then what do we have? Here's a list of things we tend to take for granted that we should be grateful for.

Being Grateful: Because What Else do we Have?

If we don't have anything to be grateful for, then what do we have? Here's a list of things we tend to take for granted that we should be grateful for.The last few weeks have been emotionally trying for a lot of people.

I couldn’t help but think that now is a pretty good time to reflect on what we have to be grateful for.

We’ve got Thanksgiving around the corner in the US, and I believe gratitude can help us overcome all the negativity going on right now.

Some might think it’s a trivial exercise in the face of bigger issues at hand, but if we can’t be grateful, what else do we have?

I’ve been through a lot of dark times in my life, but thinking back, I always had things I could be grateful for.

Unfortunately, when you’re going about your day-to-day, you tend to take the simple things for granted. We place more emphasis on the negative than the positive.

It’s time to change that. I hope you’ll join me in thinking about everything you have to be grateful for, despite the odds many of us are facing.

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FinCon15 in Charlotte, Business, Traveling, Life Updates

FinCon15, Traveling, Business, and More

FinCon15 in Charlotte, Business, Traveling, Life UpdatesHello everyone! I can’t believe FinCon starts tomorrow, and since I’m so excited to see everyone there, I figured updating this would be a good idea. If you want more FinCon talk, just scroll down to the last section.

I know I suck – I’m sorry for the radio silence for the past two months. Preparing for my trip to Austin and trying to work ahead as much as possible took a lot out of me, and then I had to make up for the lost time when I came back. Then it’s been a crunch for FinCon. (Why yes, that is a crappy picture I took of Charlotte the other day from my phone!)

I don’t want to complain about being busy, though. That’s my own choice.

Internal Debates

Truthfully, I’m just not sure what purpose this blog serves anymore, and it’s something I’ve been contemplating this entire year (as evidenced by the lack of posts). I keep wanting to make it more of a personal journal type of thing, but I question what people can get out of that.

Then again, all my freelance writing is directed at trying to help others, so if I’m fulfilling that elsewhere, I should be free to do what I want on my blog, right?

There are quite a few things I need to figure out business-wise. There’s not enough time to get into it in this post, but if I had to start over on this journey, I would have approached it with an entirely different mindset. Coming from earning nothing, there was so much pressure to earn something, and I moved a little too fast with taking on as many clients as I did. I’ve found myself stretched extremely thin these past few months, and I know it’s not sustainable.

Last year was a huge year of change, and I was hoping to gain more clarity this year. Yet, I’ve left myself with little to no time to actually think about the direction I’m going in. Instead, I’ve been working around the clock. Being aware of it is better than nothing, but I also haven’t been doing anything to make the necessary changes.

When I came back from Austin, I went to my parent’s house to “reset” and get back on a better schedule. While it worked for the time I was there, I fell right back into the same rut when I got home.

It’s been frustrating, and part of me doesn’t want to blog about it because it’s negative. I’ve tried really hard to move past that time of my life with my “being grateful” posts, but I know I’m not the only one with these internal struggles, so what the hell. It’s better than letting this space die.

A Sea of Changes

There have been a number of other things happening in my life, and there’s going to be quite a few changes happening down the road. Both in my personal life, and in business.

For one, I know I’m not happy with where I am – physically, or mentally. Charlotte was a great move (and I know those of you visiting will enjoy the city), but we went about it the wrong way. My plan was to only be here for a year, because that’s the career path R was on. Then he took a completely different position with a different path.

We didn’t seek out any friendship when we came here because we figured we’d be gone by now. What’s the sense in going through all the effort? Yeah, big mistake.

I’ve become a hermit, and even though I’m an introvert, going to Austin and being around 20,000+ awesome people made me realize I was missing out on a really important piece of life.

As a result, I’m taking a trip back home to New York come October. I’m going for a month, and I’m driving. I always said I’d never do that drive again, but not having a car the past few times I was up there made it really difficult to coordinate with my friends. Plus I’m absolutely sick of flying Spirit because they suck.

Don’t ask me why, but I feel like I need to go back to my “roots” for a little bit. Plus, October is perfect fall weather in NY, making it the best time to visit.

After NY, the holidays are going to be right around the corner, and I know the rest of the year will fly by. Come January, I’m making plans to move one way or another, and I pretty much have my sights set on Austin after visiting. I can’t reveal much more than that due to a number of factors that are all up in the air right now, but I know I need a change, and I want to take advantage of being location independent while I can.

Let’s Talk FinCon

Okay, enough of that! I hope anyone who is flying in has a great and safe flight. The weather has been pretty decent here (although it’s a bit overcast right now), and it’s not sweltering hot, which is always nice.

In case you didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, the Westin is located pretty much near everything you’ll need access to. If you’re ever in doubt, head to the Epicenter, as it has a drugstore and plenty of places to eat.

If anyone should need something, please message me on Twitter or email me and ask for my number. I’m more than willing to help out if you forgot something and need it for the hotel. There’s a Target down the road on my way to the Westin, so I can always stop by and pick something up for you.

I’m also going to be bringing a crap ton of stuff to carry with me, namely aspirin (and non-aspirin for those that need it) and hand sanitizer. I’ll also have sharpies and other essential conference things.

If you’re driving around, 77, 85, and 485 are the major highways around here. 485 is a giant circle around Charlotte (and they FINALLY completed it a few months ago!), and 77 runs north and south through the city and beyond. If you’re trying to extend your stay, there are amazing areas all around. Asheville, Boone, Raleigh, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston aren’t too far away.

Come Visit Me in the Expo Hall!

Where will I be? Good question! I’m attending FinCon as an Exhibitor with Wherewithal, so for Thursday and Friday, I’ll most likely be in the Expo Hall. Our kiosk is #20 (we’re on a corner), and I’d be absolutely thrilled to see you guys there! We’re going to be giving away some comfy shirts (I’ll also be giving away hugs), and we have a few other things going on during the conference.

I’m attending pretty much all the after-hours events, but if you see me at any point, please say hi! I know many of us are shy (myself included), but if it’s one piece of advice I can give, it’s this: approach people. Be friendly. Everyone is there for the same reason – to make connections and nerd out over our shared love of all things finance. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and you’ll get much more out of the experience.

If you need a break, there’s a really nice area outside the hotel where you can sit. Charlotte is a fairly “green” city in that it has large sidewalks lined with trees. There are a few parks/bench areas that are good for relaxing. There’s also a bunch of greenways if you’re a runner, and I believe there are a number of bike rentals available. It’s an extremely walkable city!

All right, that does it for this update!

Are you hyped for FinCon15 (if you’re going)? Need any advice? Any Charlotte tips? Message me! Have you had a turning point in your career where it felt like you hit a wall and needed to make changes?

What I'm Being Grateful For in 2014

Being Grateful: Fifty-Second Anniversary Edition

It’s been one whole year since I started this little weekend series of mine, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.

Originally, I started this series because I have a natural tendency to be pessimistic. I’m usually a cynical, glass half-empty kind of person.

I wanted to change that as much as I could. Having that kind of perspective on life can be warranted at times, but it was as if I had cast a permanent cloud over everything.

The practice of gratitude can put things into perspective, as you learn to focus on and be grateful for the things you do have, rather than focus on what’s lacking.

After a year, I can tell you I think it works.

What I'm Being Grateful For in 2014

Even in my worse moments, I can realize the situation for what it is, and overcome it by reminding myself of the things in my life that are going great.

I also figure that in a month, this will just be a microscopic blip on the radar, and I won’t even remember it. It helps me let go easier.

That wasn’t the case over a year ago, where I stressed out over every little thing constantly, worried constantly, and always thought the worst was going to happen anyway, so why bother caring.

After I (mostly) overcame the horrible depression I endured in my teenager years, I realized that life was not worth living in such a dark light, but still didn’t reach the point where I am today.

I fully believe that we each deserve to be happy. To wake up every morning and be thankful that we’re still here. That there’s still another day waiting to unfold.

Tomorrow is never guaranteed, so what’s the use of living each day with such a crappy attitude?

There really isn’t any, and I’m glad I’ve made a huge stride in that department. I’m not perfect at all, but I am grateful for the change in perspective this series has brought me. It’s become ingrained in me to be grateful.

So with that long intro out of the way, here is a recap of all the things I am being grateful for in 2014.

Our Dream of Moving Came True

Let’s start with the biggest highlight of the year – that was our move.

R and I knew we wanted to leave NY at some point (I wrote that over a year ago!), simply because where we were was expensive. We couldn’t afford much beyond what we had. That needed to change in order to make any headway on saving or paying off our student loans.

Our storage unitLong story short, R got a job that would allow him to relocate after a year, and he would also get promoted in the process. Win-win.

As his first year approached in April, he started looking at the available openings. Ideally, we would move closer to my parents, because I missed them and worried about them. =)

He got an interview for a position in SC, but unfortunately, the guy ahead of him got the job. It turned out to be a good thing: after his interview, they told him to go to another store just 15 minutes away, to interview for a different type of position, which happened to involve a raise.

We didn’t need any time to think about it. R accepted the next day once we got home, and we started packing. The rest is history. We’ve been here for 7 months now, and it both does and doesn’t feel that long. I still sometimes can’t believe we made it. Moving seemed like a pipe dream when we were first together, yet here we are!

I’m very grateful all the pieces fell into place on this one. While we’re not sure if Charlotte is where we’re going to stay forever, we’ve enjoyed it so far.

I Left the 9-5 Behind and Started Freelancing

With the move came the loss of a job for me. Because we didn’t know where we would end up until the last second, it was impossible for me to search for a job.

In full disclosure, I was making less than $15/hr at any job I ever held in NY. I majored in Criminal Justice in college, with the thought of eventually getting into the FBI, and obviously, that didn’t happen! I ended up working entry-level admin jobs, which didn’t pay very well.

I figured it would be the same story here. I decided to give freelancing a try, as I saw so many fellow bloggers rocking it, making more than I ever had in a month!

I am really happy to say after many, many difficult months of self-doubt, fear, slight depression, and all around craziness, I made the right decision. I won’t write off returning to the workforce fully at some point, as I know there are some really cool companies out there. But for now, this is right.

I never, ever thought I would be a freelancer, or a solopreneur. There are no entrepreneurs in my family to speak of, and I didn’t recognize it as a possible career path. It’s been quite the learning and eye-opening experience.

Being Grateful for Blogging? Yes!

Which is why I am so very grateful for blogging. It has opened my eyes to all of the possibilities available for those that want to take advantage of it.

Without blogging, I don’t think I would have fully known that side hustling was a thing. I wouldn’t have thought of doing half the things some people to do earn money.

I never thought anyone would be willing to pay me to write, or manage their social media.

And without blogging, I wouldn’t have met some of the awesome people I am happy and grateful to work with. I also wouldn’t have become acquainted with my awesome readers and blog friends!

Weekend Trips to Visit Parents

When we moved, we essentially left behind all of our friends and family. My parents are the only ones that live down south.

Enclosed porch we hang out in at my parentsYou only get one set of parents, though, and I happen to be really close with mine. As I’ve gotten older, I realize my family isn’t getting any younger, either.

And while I worry about my grandma (especially since she was in the hospital twice since we left, which had never happened when we were there!), she is retired and can come visit at any point.

Besides that, freelancing allows me the flexibility to go back home.

For the most part, we have been visiting my parents one or two weekends out of the month.

To put things into perspective, I decided we couldn’t miss Thanksgiving with my parents last year. We drove 12 hours down, and 14 hours back, just to spend 3 days with them, because that’s all we could take off for work.

This past weekend, we drove 3.5 hours, with our cats, and enjoyed 4 days with them. Coming back took 4 hours because of torrential rain, but it’s still way better than 14.

For Christmas, we’ll spend 6 days with them, and none of us will have to risk driving in the snow to get there (hopefully?).

That’s the perfect example to show how things have changed for us, and all I can say is, I’m being grateful upon reflecting just how much things have changed this past year.

What are you being grateful for this Thanksgiving? What’s changed for you this past year?